As I Was Going to St. Ives
DESCRIPTION: "As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives, Each wife had seven sacks, Each sack had seven cats, Each cat had seven kirs: Kits, cats, sacks, and wives, How many were going to St. Ives?"
EARLIEST DATE: 1844 (Halliwell); reportedly found in a Harley MS. of c. 1730 (source: Opie-Oxford2)
KEYWORDS: travel riddle
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Opie-Oxford2 462, "As I Was Going to St. Ives" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #678, p. 270, "(As I was going to St. Ives)"
Jack, p. 7, "As I Was Going to St Ives" (1 text)
Dolby, p. 183, "As I Was Going to St Ives" (1 text)
NOTES: Jack claims that a similar trap is found in the famous Rhind Papyrus, an Egyptian mathematical text of around 1650 BCE. It is #79 in that work -- but the problem doesn't have the same hook at the end. It has seven houses, seven cats per house, which catch seven mice, each of which would have eaten seven heads of grain, each of which would have produced seven hekats of yield, and the question is how many items are to be counted up. - RBW
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